Friday, February 23, 2007

Penguin Fish and Chips
5952 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035

If you know me, you know I enjoy a good fry bucket every once and awhile. (My definition of a "fry bucket", is when 85% of your meal is completely fried...give or take 10% for sides) Penguin fits the bill for a day when all you want to do is grease your insides with fried goodness.

When I first heard the name of this place, I instantly thought...frozen yogurt? Then it was explained to me that it was a fish place...I then thought...Why on earth would someone name their restaurant Penguin?! Do they serve penguin? I mean, if they serve fish, and the place is named "Penguin" because Penguins eat fish (I'm just trying to go through their thought process...), why don't I see more places named, "Chinese middle aged American person", or "Middle Class Italian Guy"? You just don't see that (although it'd be a great experiment...heck, I'd eat at Chinese Middle Aged American Person restaurant!)

Okay, so enough making fun of the name. Penguin is located on a small mini mall shopping center, with a 7-11. I never would have guessed that it would have anything decent in it. I was wrong.
First off, they have their own fish refrigerator, fishmonger style. That, to me, is the ultimate sign of quality. They're grabbing the fresh fish pieces to throw in the fryer right after you place your order! They're not hiding the fish in the back, grabbing whatever slab of fish that's about to go bad - they're confident enough to show you exactly what their fish looks like and where they're taking it from. Awesome.

They have TONS of choices in fish - fillet sole, trout, sand dabs, salmon, catfish, perch...that's honestly not even all the choices they have.

Hands down, their lunch prices are spectacular. For a meager $6.79, with tax, (for most of the cuts of fish - shrimp and orange roughy is more expensive) you get 3 pieces of fish, a mess of crinkle cut fries, 2 pieces of hushpuppies and a choice of cole slaw, potato salad or macaroni salad.
Okay, honestly, it's hard to tell what fish this is, as fried fish pieces look identical after being dunked in batter and frying it in hot oil. But I think this is Owen's salmon. Look at those huge pieces, nestled in the mountain of fries....
I THINK this was Victor's Red Snapper. Same deal. Just red snapper.
And I THINK this was my orange roughy. I don't think I had ever tried orange roughy before, and this was a good experience with it...tender white fish. Very good. Also, there were hushpuppies hidden somewhere on this platter. These are the most flavorful hushpuppies I have ever had. And I've had Honey's Kettle's hushpuppies. These are, in fact, better. Here's a close up on a serving of cole slaw. Since cole slaw is my enemy, I have no comment on it. However, Owen seemed to like it. I had the potato salad, which was ok. It was nice to have this to offset all the fried items I was ingesting, but I don't think the quality of the potato salad was anything special - I'd choose potato salad from Ralph's or Vons before choosing this potato salad (Ralph's or Vons being the kind of potato salad that is very acceptable but not something that one craves or desires unless someone gets it for a potluck or a picnic).

Okay, so the fried-goodness is not in the same category as Honey's Kettle. This is more in the Louisiana style category of fried food, and in this division, Penguin wins. I definitely can't go here more than once every month or so, but this place is a definite must try for anyone who hasn't gone...penguin or not!

1 comment:

Dr. Alice said...

This place is right near my office, and my staff and I order lunch from Penguin sometimes. I've always liked it... maybe a little too salty, though.

I can't argue about the quality of the fish. It is excellent.